As the fallout from Cambridge Analytica’s improper harvesting of Facebook data continues, Democrats have launched a slew of ads against a Republican Senatorial candidate for her vote disbanding internet privacy regulations.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has launched a Google search ads campaign against Rep. Martha McSally, who is running for the Republican nomination for Senate in Arizona. The ads highlight her 2017 vote to repeal internet privacy regulations approved under the Obama administration that would have mandated internet service providers to obtain users’ permission before collecting data like browsing history and social security numbers. The ads, which were shared exclusively with TIME prior to their release, are part of an ongoing, six-figure digital buy by the DSCC.
The ads also highlight that McSally received over $40,000 in campaign contributions from telecom companies after the vote. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McSally’s campaign committee and Leadership PAC has received $39,500 from telecom services in the 2018 cycle, but were not among the top 10 industries making the largest contributions.
The ads are targeted to reach Arizona voters searching for terms including “how to protect my kids online;” “how to protect my internet privacy,” “Martha McSally,” and “Arizona Republican Primary.” Voters searching these terms will see ads on Google that read, “FCC Rules on Internet Privacy – McSally Voted to Remove Them,” “Rep. McSally Betrayed Arizonans – By Selling Out On Net Privacy,” “AZ Internet Privacy Sold Out – For $42,000 By Martha McSally.”
The DSCC has run ads in Arizona this cycle, on issues like health care and taxes, but these are the first to target McSally specifically. She announced she was entering the race for Senate in January.
“By voting in lockstep with establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell and the special interests, Congresswoman McSally has proved once again that she just doesn’t put Arizonans first,” said DSCC spokesman David Bergstein. “McSally’s record on this issue is deeply unpopular with voters of every political persuasion and they will hold her accountable in November.”
McSally is a favorite to win the Republican nomination among her party’s establishment, but she faces primary challenges from right wing members of her party, like Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Should she prevail in August’s primary, she will likely face Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema in the general election. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report currently has the race listed as a toss-up.